Saturday, April 19, 2008

Is the lateness concept acceptable to you?

We live in Malaysia, the country that invented the concept of "rubber time". Tell a Malaysian that a meeting / appointment / wedding will begin at xx:xx time and they will invariably show up after the stipulated time.

Today, I was supposed to meet up with a group of people (note that I use the term "group of people", they comprise of my colleagues, acquaintances and strangers) for an outdoors expedition. We were supposed to meet at 8.00am in Rawang town, a time and place set by our so-called "guide". Since I stay far away from Rawang, I make the extra effort to be on time and arrive at the appointed meeting point at 7.54am. (Yes, I am *that* precise.) Look around, no one's here yet. I call XY to see where they are. And this is what XY tells me :

XY : "Yeah, we're here already. In fact, I can see your car! We're finding a place to park."
Me : "Okay, see you in a bit then."

Okay, fine. I call VW to see where they are. This is what VW says to me :

VW : "Aiyo, why are you so punctual one? I'm just leaving my place, on the highway now. Should arrive in 15 minutes time. Why don't you take breakfast first while waiting?"
Me : "I've already taken my breakfast. Just waiting for you and the others to arrive."

Okay, it's still fine. I consider whether or not to call Z, but surmise that they should be coming anytime soon. How wrong was I!

20 minutes pass. It's now 8.15am. No sign of either XY's car or VW's car. I get concerned, so I call XY again. Maybe they're parked somewhere else where I can't see them. Or maybe they've gone off to have breakfast. The phone rings for nearly 6 rings before XY picks up. (Note: XY was not driving, someone else was. XY was a passenger in the car.)

Me : "XY, where are you guys? Did you get lost parking?"
XY : "Actually we're still on the way la. We should be reaching soon."

Wtf? (Sorry, I don't normally swear in real-life or on my blog but this was beyond me.) Why can't you tell me that you were on the way earlier? Why do you have to lie? I HATE LIARS. Period. Doesn't matter if it's big lie or little lie. A lie is a lie is a lie. Don't tell me it was a joke and try to laugh it off. (Which, by the way, XY did not say. Neither did he apologize. It was just a matter-of-fact thing to him, to tell an untruth without blinking.)

At this point of time, there are supposed to be 12 people for the outing, and none of them have arrived yet.

The time now is 8.19am. Finally a car I recognize. It's Z's car. Z comes over to say hi.

Z : "Eh, what happened to the rest? Where are they?"
Me : "Well, as you can see, they're all not here yet. XY and VW are on their way. I don't know about VW's friends."
Z : "Haiyoh, and I thought I was going to be late. Must really scold them..."
Me : *looks at Z* "It's definitely not 8.00am now. Then can I scold you first?"

Z is a bit embarassed now.

Z : "Actually hor, I was on time, but just that on the way here, on the highway, I needed to pangsai* so I had to stop!" *pangsai = sh*t

By this time, my reaction is like, whatever. Evidently these people have no sense of responsibility. Some minutes pass. The time now is 8.26am. XY's car arrives. The 3 of them inside are all laughing through the windows AT me as they park next to my car. Not a word of "Sorry we're late" or anything else. Bah. Right now, if it weren't for the outing that I so looked forward to, I couldn't give a damn about all of them. They could all go to perdition right there and I wouldn't blink an eye.

Me : "It's about time you guys got here. What happened to finding a parking space, huh?"
XY's Driver : "It's XY's idea la. He thought it would be funny to pull your leg."
Me : "Actually, I don't find it funny. To me, that's a lie."
XY's Driver : *laughs* "But he does it so well and convincingly!"
Me : "In fact, I hate liars. So please don't ever lie to me again." *with the firmest tone and grim face I can muster, leaving the unspoken consequences hanging in the air between us*
XY's Driver : *quickly adds* "Oh yes, I hate liars too!"

So the XY's Driver hates liars lying to her but it's okay for them to lie to someone else, right? Humbug. All this while, XY doesn't even come over to say a word to me but walks around the parking lot aimlessly.

XY's Passenger : "Hey, I just spoke to VW on the phone. They're lost, somewhere near... *names the landmark*"

I know where that landmark is, so I use my handphone to call VW's handphone. It rings to the end; VW does not pick up. XY's Passenger tries with her handphone, and VW immediately picks up the call. Wtf? Oh okay, I get it. You feel guilty that you're late so you won't answer my call. But you'll answer someone else's call, not knowing that that person is actually sitting next to me. Coward.

Finally, at 8.45am, VW's car arrives. Like XY, VW doesn't come anywhere within 4 ft of me (probably because I radiate disapproval like the sun's heat rays) until it's time to give out directions for the next leg of the journey. And then, this is what VW says:

VW : "Oh, we were delayed because of the rain!" (Like hello? What rain are you referring to? The barely there light drizzle?)
Me : "Mmmm."
VW : "Anyway, we shouldn't let this spoil the rest of the trip. We should enjoy it!"
Me : "Huh." *stifling the urge to roll my eyes*

It's not like they all don't know that the meeting time is 8.00am. We were all reminding each other about it the day before. In person and via emails. But yet, look at the times that they arrived! And all the *wonderful* excuses they made for themselves.

The best part? We sit around in the parking lot for another ten odd minutes waiting for the so-called "guide". Remember, the one who said we should meet at 8.00am? Yes, that one. Who only arrived close to 8.55am. A full 55 minutes late! Talk about extreme lateness. If it were a restaurant that was so slow in serving your meal, I'm sure you would have kicked up a hue and cry already by then. Because you expect more and because you're paying for it. Well, I expect more because I've more than paid for it with my time!

By the time we finally left on the next leg of our journey, it was 9.02am. And I had been waiting for over an hour because I was punctual. Really (@)Q(*#$&%*($&*(@#($!!!!!!

The delay incident was not the only thing that happened during the outing. There were other little incidents, words flippantly said and actions that spoke louder than words. All in all, today solidified the feelings I had in this post here and made up my mind. You know what? From today onwards, I'll never want to voluntarily organize anything else for this bunch of people. Association with them - as minimal as possible. (If not for the fact that right now they are the only group of people I can do activities with, I wouldn't even bother trying in the first place.) I don't think it's too much to ask for if I expect at least a modicum of reciprocation and effort on your part? And it is a matter of character that shows in how you approach these trivial matters.

I'm not saying I didn't enjoy myself today. I did, immensely. The outing itself was wonderful. Just that, the people I went with, are not.

p.s. There'll be two camps of people on this post. Those who think like me and those who think like XY, VW and the rest. I only ask one thing if you're going to comment. Please, be truthful about your two cents worth of opinion. Thank you.

14 spins:

adrian said...

I would never be so 'dili-deli' when it comes to appointments. I always make it a point to reach 10-20 minutes earlier.

But of course I have been late (unintentionally). In that case, I will call beforehand to inform the person.

But when I know those that I'm meeting have a habit of coming fashionably late, I'll be late as well.

But now I know how u feel about this, next time I meet u, I'll make sure I remember to be the first to arrive ok? :)

L B said...

My 2 cents:
I am with you in your camp, solidly, firmly, and thinking about bashing someone up for you for making you wait 1 hour, who then thought it was funny.

Doreen said...

I hate people being late coz' I hate people wasting my time. I think people who do not have sense of time are inconsiderate. said...

i don mind ppl being late for a couple of mins. i'm thankful that i don't meet those situations a lot. and i think it doesn't happen only in malaysia or asian countries larr. :p no good to generalise.

pelf said...

I'm with you.

I am a very punctual person myself, and I can't take it if anybody is late for more than 5 minutes. A few minutes is OK, because I understand that it is not always easy to find a parking, I understand that sometimes the traffic is a little too busy, I understand that accidents do happen (which causes a slight delay).

But I can't take it if you said meet at 8am, and you are ONLY leaving your house at 8am. I respect your time by trying to arrive punctually, and I expect you to respect my time too. And people who don't respect me (my time) don't deserve my respect at all.

Simple as that :D

Tine said...

Unless I'm really rushing for time, I'm all right with people doing the late thing with me, ONLY IF you tell me you're going to be late. And for goodness' sake, be honest with the time. If you're going to be 30 mins late, don't tell me you're 15 mins away.

Oh, and the biggest peeve of all? If I arrive on time, and the other person is late, and still have the audacity to ask me why I'm so punctual deserves a kick up the bum. I would so give that person a piece of my mind if he/she gives me that rubbish.

rinnah said...

adrian: Most people will have the common courtesy to call ahead. Had that been the case, I wouldn't have minded lar. Maybe I should try being late next time too? But kenot lar wei... I got reputation as Ms. Punctuality to upkeep! Hehehe. You say wan ah... I'll hold you to that promise to arrive first! LOL.

l b: Oh! I wanted to bash them up at first... then I thought why waste my physical energy when I can just blog about it. And yeah, it was so not funny. -_-"

doreen: Yaloh, I also think they are very inconsiderate to waste other people's time. A couple of minutes is still fine in my book. But a phonecall to notify me would be the right thing to do, no? I'm sure lateness isn't just confined to Malaysia, but what about the attitude that it's OK to be late? I think that's a very Malaysian thing.

pelf: Exactly! A few minutes with reasonable explanation is still acceptable... and I agree with you that people who don't respect me (my time) don't deserve my respect at all.

tine: Yep, the late thing is okay if we are informed beforehand that the other party will be coming later. I need to maintain a relationship with the person who asked why I was so punctual for this outing, so I can't give my piece of mind, no matter how much I longed to!

giddy tigress said...

*sets up tent next to Rinnah's*
I so CANNOT stand people who are late for appointments without letting the others know why. And I can't stand people who have the audacity to LIE about it and then THINK it is funny. I would certainly have given them a piece of my mind.
Sorry you had to put up with that, but like you, I don't think I would be able to apply the same treatment to them back because I can't make myself late. I would feel so so sorry...

Adino said...

WHAT!? This is absolutely ridiculous... and the fact that they were not even the slightest bit apologetic makes it worse! At least call to tell the truth.

It sounds like they were still in KL when you first called them!

I guess it's just their upbringing. My parents taught me to always be punctual. I hope you at least enjoyed the trip.

rinnah said...

giddy tigress: You and me both! *high fives big sis GT* Oh, how I itched to blow my top and tell them how I really felt! But I had to settle for being sarcastic...

adino: I wouldn't have been so irritated and furious if they had been apologetic. And the final icing on the cake was the outright lies and feigning ignorance. Maybe it's their upbringing, but my parents also taught me to be punctual and to tell the truth at all times. My consolation is that the trip (apart from the nasty horrid people I was with) was very very fun!

mistipurple said...

so this is your 'ranting' blog, lol. read that at adrian's. :P

you are already being very nice to them. i would have walked off. ya, i am that bad. jialat hor?
and, i would if i could, not have anything to do with them in the future. no matter how fun.
*thinks to self*
no wonder i got no friends lah..

rinnah said...

mistipurple: Ehehehe. Very paiseh leh. A lot of visitors from adrian's blog and this is the kind of introduction they get! I too nice, hor? But, I cannot over do my reaction to them because... I still gotta work with them at the end of the day.

mistipurple said...

ah! i was wondering if you had to work with them. so ya, rules change. have to tahannnnn. :P

rinnah said...

mistipurple: Yaloh... what to do... I still gotta work with some of them the day after.